There are a number of places where free legal advice can be obtained.
This is known as Pro Bono advice and is usually provided by solicitors and other qualified professionals who are linked with registered charities and not-for-profit organisations working in this area. They provide a vitally important function in giving access to law and to justice in a wide variety of areas.
Law Centres Network: Law Centres have existed since the early 1970s and work within their communities to defend the legal rights of local people. Specialising in social welfare law, they have an in-depth knowledge of the issues communities face. They use this knowledge to help people save their homes, keep their jobs and protect their families. Law Centres offer legal advice, casework and representation to individuals and groups.
Legal Aid: There is a separate page on this important state-funded service.
Advice UK: A registered charity which supports the country’s largest network of Independent Advice Services. Advice UK provides support to front-line centres / agencies that offer independent social welfare and legal advice to those in need.
Advocate.org.uk: As part of its commitment to promote access to justice, the Faculty facilitates the provision of advice and representation by Advocates free of charge in deserving cases for which no form of funding is available. This pro bono service has been a feature of the Faculty down the centuries and is now provided by volunteer Advocates through the Faculty’s Free Legal Services Unit. Cases may be referred to the Unit from accredited advice agencies.
Free Representation Unit: FRU has been providing representation in social security and employment tribunals since 1972. It helps people who are not eligible for legal aid and cannot afford lawyers. FRU’s work is done by volunteers, mostly law students and legal professionals in the early stages of their career. All FRU’s representatives are trained and supervised by its legal officers.
AdviceNow: Is an independent, not-for-profit website, run by the charity Law for Life: the Foundation for Public Legal Education. It provides accurate, practical information on rights and the law in England and Wales. Advice Now believes that everybody should have access to clear and effective guidance to help them deal with law-related issues.
Advice Local: Advice Local is a London based service that provides a borough-by-borough guide to welfare benefits, employment, debt, housing, immigration & asylum, disability & social care and children & families issues.
Personal Support Unit: The PSU aim to reduce the disadvantage of people facing the civil and family justice system without a lawyer, enabling them to access justice. The PSU believes that no one should face court alone and so it works to provide immediate support to everyone who comes to it. Over 700 trained volunteers, provide a free service across the country. PSU provides comfort, support and guidance before, during and after court.
Citizens Advice: Citizens Advice provides information on your rights, including benefits, housing, family matters and employment, and on debt, consumer and legal issues. England: 03444 111 444 Wales: 03444 77 20 20 TextRelay users: 03444 111 445
The Liberty Advice Line: For advice on human and civil rights matters you can call their advice line and their website provides information on your rights under the Human Rights Act 1998. Telephone: 0845 123 2307 or 020 3145 0461
Law Works: Is a charity working in England and Wales to connect volunteer lawyers with people in need of legal advice, who are not eligible for legal aid and cannot afford to pay and with the not-for-profit organisations that support them. The clinics are for people who are not eligible for legal aid and cannot afford to pay for a lawyer.
Law for Life: The Foundation for Public Legal Education is an education and information charity that aims to increase access to justice by providing everyone with an awareness of their legal rights together with the confidence and skills to assert them.
RCJ Advice: Delivere free legal advice to people who cannot afford a solicitor and need assistance with preparing, or dealing with a court case. RCJ Advice has a wide range of other support for people with court cases such as schemes that provide representation, access to child contact and Separated Parent Information Programmes.
We are grateful to Law Works for its help in researching these key resources.
See other legal help and advice resources